Danilla Mitzia “Missy” Bethea is suspected of spreading a fake story about a mom and her missing baby in order to get money, the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office has shared. On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office shared that a mom named April Morrison was missing, along with her two- to three-week-old baby. Now it appears that the entire story was made up.
1. Danilla Bethea Was Arrested on Suspicion of Making Up the Story of a Missing Mom & Baby, & She’s Being Held on $100,000 Bond
On Friday, the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office arrested Danilla Mitzia “Missy” Bethea on suspicion of making up the entire story. She was arrested on “10 counts of Felony Obtaining Property by False Pretenses and 1 count of Felony False Reports to a Law Enforcement Agency Pertaining to a Missing Child,” the Sheriff’s Office noted on Facebook.
Bethea is being held on a $100,000 secured bond at the Scotland County Detention Facility. The photo above was shared by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook.
2. Bethea Is 30 & Lives in Rockingham, North Carolina
Bethea is 30 and lives off East Side Drive in Rockingham, North Carolina, authorities said.
One person on Facebook wrote, upon hearing the news, “OMG!! This infuriates, saddens & elate’s me all at the same time. I’ve spent hours HOURS H.O.U.R.S today looking for women with aka’s or recently pregnant on travelers sites that look to be Spanish descent! Thankfully a child is not in danger BUT geesh.. people are becoming more & more inhumane.”
3. Authorities Said the Baby’s Photo Was Stolen from Social Media
Authorities said they believe the baby’s photo was stolen from an unrelated social media account.
A woman on Facebook said it was her baby’s picture that was stolen. She left the comment under one of the stories shared by Scotland County.
The original story alleged that a woman named April Morrison, who spoke English and Spanish, was staying at hotels and motels in the Scotland County or Fayetteville area, Fox 8 reported. Authorities were concerned because they had learned that April might have died, and the baby was only two to three weeks old and “not in the care of her mother.”
The mom (who ended up not existing) might have been Puerto Rican, authorities said. And the baby, as the story went, was possibly named Lee Anne Morrison.
The story hinted at possible sex trafficking, helping the news spread so fast. April was said to be staying at hotels or motels in the area and might have “been removed from the Scotland County and/or Richmond County Area possibly under fear or coercion,” Fox 8 reported. Authorities said the mom might have been in the area under an alias.
Scotland County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook on Thursday, “The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, is in search of a Hispanic female known as, April Morrison. April is a Hispanic female, possibly Puerto Rican or similar, and speaks both English and Spanish. April was reported to have arrived in the Richmond County area, approximately 8 months pregnant. April gave birth to a female infant child recently, and the infant is believed to be in danger and not in the care of her mother. Our agency has not positively identified the infant, and has reasonable suspicion that April is operating under an alias. April was believed to be staying in local motels or hotels, between Richmond County, Scotland County and Fayetteville, NC.”
They later clarified that they didn’t know if the baby was with the mom or not, and weren’t certain of the mom’s real name or if the mom was even alive. This was all before they ultimately realized that the entire story was made up.
4. A Mother & Her Daughter Shared the Original Report, But Then Tried To Claim a Third Party Was Taking Care of the Baby
The original report about the missing mom was shared with authorities on January 31 by two women (a mother and a daughter, one allegedly being Bethea.) They told authorities that a female baby was born to April Morrison, who was being held against her will. The women shared information that caused police to believe April was a sex trafficking victim, authorities said. They suggested that the baby might have been sold for money or narcotics.
Police interviewed Bethea on January 31 and February 1, and her story started getting stranger. She said the baby was being cared for by “unknown third parties” and the baby was safe. This just made investigators worry more, and they were concerned that the baby was sold to parties involved in prostitution or human trafficking.
5. Authorities Think the Story Was Just a Ploy To Get Money
Authorities said they later determined that the story was false. Scotland County wrote on Facebook, “April Morrison was a fictional character and there was no infant child named Lee Ann Morrison. These false statements were allegedly made and provided for the purposes of allegedly receiving money, from the reporting party, who believed she was supporting an infant child in need, and one whom she believed she would gain custody or guardianship over. The image of the infant child provided was an image obtained allegedly through social media.”
Lt. Jessica Sadonikov told WTVD that the story was made up to try to get money from donations.